Tuesday, September 11, 2012

(I Remember)

Evette and I had early morning orchestra that day.  We were both so tired.  We found later that we had the same reason for being so exhausted -we'd both spent the night dreaming strange dreams, and we both spent morning orchestra debating whether or not to tell the other about them.

The rest of the morning passed in a half-eyed blur, until it was time for lunch.  Seventh grade ate so early that year.  I generally made a habit of peeking in the classrooms as I walked past, and that say was no exception, but only one classroom was worth noting.  There were several women in it, holding each other and crying.  I remember clearly my reacting thought: "Someone's son must have died."  I don't know why that was my thought.  I don't know why it was "son" and not "daughter."  I don't know why it was death and not illness or some other entirely unrelated tragedy.  But there it was.

We went to lunch, where I finally revealed my dream to Andy.  My whole dream had been a kind of white-lined sketch on blue paper.   It was a perfect replica of New York City; I recognized it from the trip I had taken there the previous April.  Suddenly, an airplane entered the dream and flew into a Twin Tower, which proceeded to topple over onto the silent city.  I remember entering the dream at that point, rather than observing it.  I was on the ground, feeling the shadow swallowing me, looking up in terror at my impending death.  Then, I woke.

No one put much stock in my dream.  I had weird dreams all them time.

We had to hurry to our next class: American History: Reconstruction to Present Day.   The room was eerily silent, especially for a middle school.  We took our seats to notice that the TV was on.

"The administration doesn't want me to show you this," the teacher said. "But you deserve to see this.  Your children will study this in their history classes.  I can't be a good history teacher and not show you."

And then we watched the burning towers crumble to the ground.

In his shock, the teacher said, "I guess the Empire State Building is the biggest again."  I was horrified.

Cathy went to the pay phones at the front of the school and called her mom, who picked her up.  I was furious that my mother hadn't shown up to sweep me away, but I, to this day, still don't know why I wanted to leave.  It's not like she could provide any more sanity to the world.

She did pick me up, though, at our normal Tuesday afternoon meeting time.  I was hoping she'd tell me that my piano lesson was cancelled for that day; I didn't feel up to it (not that I ever did), but she took me straight to the church.  She wanted me to have normalcy.  I started learning the song Sanctuary, which I, in turn, played a month later in church, on my family's last Sunday in that city.  It seemed so ironic it was sickening.

I was angry.  I was angry for having normalcy forced on me.  I was angry for having fear forced on me.  I was angry for my life spinning out of control.

Not even bothering to drop off my school things, I went to the basement, took out some paper and water-color paints, and began flinging color across the page, imagining it was someone conveying my anger to the people who I felt were causing it, impaling it into their souls and out of my own.   I think my mom still has those paintings.

I remember.

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